Platitudes, entitled amateurism, popular delusions, and erroneous information are all conspicuously absent from this collection of detailed novel writing guides and maxims. From concept to query, the goal is to provide you, the aspiring novel author, with the skills and knowledge it takes to realistically compete in today's novel market.
Writer takeaways on craft learned from the best books on plot and technique utilized in the commercial novel writing program including "The Art of Fiction" by John Gardner, "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass, "Write Away" by Elizabeth George, and "The Writing Life" by Annie Dillard. For more art and life in novel writing, the links below are stimulating selections from AAC forum stars:
Updated narrative, developmental, and editorial courses that compose the Algonkian Novel Writing Program. Crucial elements analyzed and applied include high-concept premise, counter-trait characters, Six Act Two-Goal Novel, core wounds, set cinema, and more. All genres. Program concludes with faculty video-consults and querying. See topics below for more info.
The best "bad novel writing advice" articles culled from Novel Writing on Edge. The point isn't to axe grind, rather to warn writers about the many horrid and writer-crippling viruses that float about like asteroids of doom in the novel writing universe. From conferences to writer groups to chat boards, they never cease to threaten extinction.
For NY Pitch or Algonkian attendees or alums posting assignments related to their novel or nonfiction. Assignments include conflict levels, antagonist and protagonist sketches, plot lines, setting, and story premise. Publishers use this forum to obtain information before and after the conference event, therefore, writers should edit as necessary. Included are NY conference reviews, narrative critique sub-forums, and most importantly, the pre-event Novel Development Sitemap.
"Real World Genres Shooting Gallery" provides writers with opportunities to test market their best novels and hopefully score a contract. Agents and TV/Film reps will check in and review work during 2021. AAC will edit beforehand as needed. For Algonkian alums only.
Algonkian events nurture intimate, carefully managed environments conducive to practicing the skills and learning the knowledge necessary to approach the development and writing of a competitive commercial or literary novel. We believe you were not born to be a good or great author, but that you stand on the shoulders of great authors gone before and only by hard work will you succeed. Below are links to subject topics concerning Algonkian. Feel free to contact us with any questions or observations.
NWNV "Shooting Gallery" provides writers with the chance to test market their best SFF novels and hopefully score a contract. Agents and TV/Film reps will check in and review work during 2021. AAC will edit beforehand as needed. For Algonkian alums only.
A forum for posting and commenting on the many (and often ridiculous) novel writing advice videos found on Youtube. Feel free to let it rip, but be respectful. Nothing derogatory concerning the speakers. The mission here is to expose and question bad novel writing advice that does not bear up under scrutiny. Members of the Algonkian Critics Film Board (ACFB) include Kara Bosshardt, Richard Hacker, Joseph Hall, Elise Kipness, Michael Neff, and Audrey Woods.
Book reviews taken to the next level for the benefit of aspiring authors. This includes a unique novel-development analysis of contemporary novels by Algonkian Editor Audrey Woods. If you're in the early or middle stages of novel writing, you'll get a lot from this. We cannot thank her enough and look forward to her future thoughts and manifestations.
Best of AAC. A collection of ravels and unravels, combed feed, and worthwhile nuggets plucked from many sources here at AAC. Cara carefully selects only the best and presents them in an array certain to illuminate and entertain... Cara comments also. We can't get enough!
CrimeReads is a culture website for people who believe suspense is the essence of storytelling, questions are as important as answers, and nothing beats the thrill of a good book. It's a single, trusted source where readers can find the best from the world of crime, mystery, and thrillers. No joke,
AAC can't help but deliver the best bloggish content that will inspire writers to new leaps of imagination. This one is mostly new releases, bestsellers, literary fiction historical fiction, mysteries, popular non-fiction, memoirs and biographies.
A hub for all things fantasy (plus some SF). Book reviews, games, author interviews, features, serial fiction- you name it. The Fantasy Hive is a collaborative site formed of unique personalities who just want to celebrate fantasy. Btw, the SFF novel to the left by one of our members, Warwick Gleeson, was a "Top 150 Best Books" Kirkus pick in 2019.
Women On Writingis an online magazine and community for women writers. Among major topics are novel writing, indie publishing, author platform,blogging, screenwriting, and more. Lots of contests and general jocularity sans frittering on the part of Earth's most powerful humans.
Bringing you the famous and cheeky SBTB blog for romance enthusiasts. If you're into the romance genre, this is where you want to be. If you're not, avoid at all costs to preserve your sanity. Ha ha. We're just kidding. There are some good things happening in the genre. Stay Golden, Horny Girl!
From one of the most classic literary journals of all time, famous for its author interviews (among other things), comes the PR feed. Grab your coffee and conjure your most literary mindset cause you're going to need it. Academics and shut-ins will wet their pants over this. Ya gotta love it!
Comparables: World Gone By meets Who They Was in this 90,000 plot-driven and character-rich debut novel set in modern day New York.
Hook: A gun-runner for an urban gang sets out to uncover the mystery of his best friend’s death and triggers a chain of events that jeopardizes everyone in his orbit, including him.
Marlon Brown is a gun-runner for the Bloods, whose best friend has been gunned down outside of the gang's established territory. Though the whisper stream comes alive with speculation about who did the deed and why, conjecture isn't enough for Marlon. He ha
If your book is all concept, it's all boring!
First of all, I will admit to having enjoyed this book when said and done. Even though I'm about to use it as an example of what not to do, it was still a heartwarming read about love and loss and how trust can conquer fear if we let it.
This novel is a classic case of the concept getting way, way ahead of the plot.
So first, the concept: How to Stop Time revolves around a man named Tom Hazard who ages slower than normal people. He's not immortal exactly, but his body takes so long to grow old that he might as well be. B
The act of the story statement
Shadow Baelfiyer is a thief living on Chicago’s South Side. She is plagued by dreams of a world that has magic and dragons and a family she knows to be dead. Her aunt tells her these are just dreams. However, on a daily thieving hunt Shadow runs into two strangers who make her rethink all she has known. They are from a world called Elspeth where magic roams, people transform into lions; a world where she was born, and was taken away from, where she too has magic. These strangers take Shadow on a journey to find her past, but a great threat is uncovered
The Queen’s Bargain
The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop is $1.99! This book was mentioned in a previous Hide Your Wallet and is part of the Black Jewels series. I didn’t keep up with the series as a whole, so I’m unsure how this fits in. I think it focuses on secondary characters now, but correct me I’m wrong?
POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.
Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga
I feel like I’m committing a grievous writerly sin by even typing these words, but I must speak my truth:
I would like to see more passive protagonists in fiction.
While the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, I do think that passive protagonists are unfairly maligned in part because of the unspoken association between passivity and femininity. I’ll get into why I think so a little later, but let’s discuss what “passive protagonist” means first.
The importance of intent
Passive protagonists are the antithesis of what we’re told makes a good story. A good story, says common wisdom, is dr
Welcome to Book Beat!
Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster.
Artie and the Wolf Moon
Author: Olivia Stephens Release
Jeremy Peoples must do whatever it takes to find forgiveness and make peace with the past.
The Antagonist Plots the Point
Stacy Ramone is a former marine, married, with one son, a flawed family man with a heightened sense of loyalty and a rapidly declining mental state. His ultimate plan was to use the money he and his wife were making by selling narcotics and stolen pharmaceuticals to buy a local bar until he is betrayed by Jeremy. Several years later, Stacy remains unseen, a dormant facet of Jeremy’s complicated and violent past, until a series of even
Illustration: Liby Hays. Courtesy of Hays.
Liby Hays’s Geniacs!, a graphic novel out this summer from the art book publisher Landfill Editions, takes place at a hackathon—truly inspired material for slapstick comedy, body horror, and philosophical reflection alike. This tech competition’s goal? Invent a new life-form. “People always think my ideas are dumb … but they’re purposefully so! Their failure is coded within them! It’s like when scientists artificially reanimate the cells of a dead pig’s brain. The brain becomes trapped in an infinite loop reliving the terror of its final moments. But
1. Story statement. Reconcile with past and find self.
2. Antagonist. Tess begins the story at a low point; anxious, consumed by memories of the past. She presents as nervous, little confidence in herself. She places too much emphasis on what people think. Dominated by internal thoughts that belittle and degrade herself. Natural people pleaser who doesn’t speak up for wants and needs, would rather keep the peace. As the story commences, we see Tess having to start making decisions albeit it small; from paying by cash or card, to directions. Midway, we start to recognize her poor decisio
Attached is a first draft of Assignments 1-7 for the upcoming workshop in St. Augustine. All comments most welcome. Looking forward to meeting fellow writers and learning a lot soon.
“Few suspected women of spying, and certainly no one expected a middle-aged knitter to be surreptitiously gathering intelligence.” -Elizabeth Bentley, A Most Clever Girl
While researching topics for my next novel, I stumbled across Elizabeth Bentley’s name and was gobsmacked that I’d never heard of this American spy who once ran the largest Soviet spy ring in America. Because Bentley was a female NKVD-spy-turned-FBI-informer—a combination America wasn’t quite sure what to do with—she was overshadowed both in life and after her death by Joseph McCarthy and Whittaker Chambers. In fact, Whitt
Gustave Caillebotte, Woman at a Dressing Table, 1873. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
My grandmother collected perfume bottles, a seeming whimsy for a woman of such plainness and ferocity. I have three of them, given to me when she was still alive. They lived in a drawer and then later, in a decorative moment, on the bookshelf, where I have since placed them higher and higher out of reach, as my daughter has attempted to climb up to play with them, a slow-moving game between us, until now they are so high up as to be out of view. I tend not to be sentimental about objects, but I at least
On Wednesday, we announced our sixth trio of eliminations and revealed that this week’s two quarter-finalists from the “different” batch are SHADOWS OF IVORY by T.L. Greylock/Bryce O’Connor and WINDS OF STRIFE by U.G .Gutman. These two battle it out in our final quarterfinal of SPFBO 7
In treading a different path in fantasy fiction, our two quarter-finalists stretched our expectations of fantasy protagonists. One gave us a cruel man who finds and murders witches but considers that a mercy, even as his actions eat away at him. The other gave us a young woman gifted by position and wealth
The question we have been asked more than any other in our career as pro podders is ‘why are women so obsessed with true crime?’. And the numbers do stack up, we at RedHanded have been in the criminal fixation game for nearly five years, and we still boast an audience heavily swayed in the female direction. Eighty-two percent swayed, to be exact. So, the question is worth asking, but the truth is, true crime and the commercial consumption of it is nothing new.
As far back as 1888, Victorian media moguls cottoned on sharpish to how much faster they could sell their papers if they recounted the
I’VE JUST WORKED OUT THE TITLE.
That’s so damn clever… The title obviously, not me. Damn I hope you gave yourself a proper pat on the back Gray.
We’re off to a good start, aren’t we. You’ll have to excuse me, please, as I’m suffering from serious book hangover. The kind where… you’ve finished the book, so you stare off into space thinking about it, then your hands reach for it in an attempt to return to reading it. But there’s nothing left to read…
The Last Days of Hong Kong is the third and final instalment of G. D. Penman’s Witch of Empire series (The Year of the Knife and The Wou
All right fine, two decades later, I’ll admit it. Back in grad school I may have been a little overeager. Probably a lot overeager. While most of my fellow MFA candidates approached the program with an enviable amount of cool, professional detachment, I was about as cool and detached as a sugar-crazed toddler running wild through Disneyland.
In my defense, I’d spent my entire life up to that point surrounded by non-writers. In grade school and high school, my aspirations to someday become a novelist made me a favorite of English teachers, but a curiosity to my classmates. In college, my best
“Are you trying to bust my balls?”
The speaker is Inspector Salvo Montalbano, head of the fictional municipality of Vigata, Sicily’s, police department, and in the 28 novels and two short story collections written by Andrea Camilleri and published in Italian and English…someone always is.
The criminals, from petty to monstrous, who occupy his frustrating days (and sometimes alarming nightmares); the Mafia thugs who spread their tentacles into every Sicilian institution; the corrupt politicians who march hand in hand with them; the witless press that blindly supports whatever government is i
Matthew Arnold suggested the best method of judging the excellence of literature is the amount of time it has survived. There is no greater proof of this touchstone for a novelist than Graham Greene. His books are still selling, often in terms much greater than newly published books that get intense media coverage. His books are read with enthusiasm and taken seriously. It is surprising that many of his contemporaries, many Noble prize winners included, are simply vanishing into the past, while the books of Greene not only endure but thrive.
For the modern novelist, these facts demand attenti